Hen House Photography Series: Beginner’s Equipment

Hen House Photography Series: Beginner’s Equipment

So you have found yourself here researching beginners photography equipment? Good for you! Research is such a beautiful thing when it comes to finding success in new hobbies and interests. With the endless amount of photography equipment on the market it can begin to get confusing early on. I put together this list on everything I use for my current photography business. Becoming a photographer does not just happen by buying the right gear, it takes time, more research and A LOT of trial and error.

If you are serious about wanting to learn more about being a better photographer you have come to the right place! I, the owner and main photographer, of Hen House Photography have put together a photography series that I will be posting weekly (for weekly updates subscribe at the end of this post)! I have broken this series into several parts where we will cover:

  • Proper Equipment for Beginners
  • Shooting in Manual
    • Aperture
    • ISO
    • Shutter speed
  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Editing

You have found yourself on the first page of the series: Beginner’s Equipment. I will let you know now that I shoot with Nikon, and all the equipment I recommend is from Nikon. Some prefer Canon, and I do not disagree that Canon is an amazing company, I just started shooting with Nikon in 2011 and haven’t gone to anything else since.

A Little About Me Before We Get Started

In 2016 I began shooting professionally and started my own photography business, Hen House Photography.  Note that I started shooting in 2011 and didn’t begin charging clients until 2016. I chose to do this out of respect to other artists. I did not buy a camera and call myself a photographer the next day. I learned the ins and outs of how to shoot and how to properly use the equipment on hand. Again, if you are reading this I commend you for taking the time to educate yourself! The following year I studied photography and graphic design  at a local community college. Taking courses in the subject helped a lot, especially taking a film photography class. Film is absolutely amazing, and a good dark room session does wondrous things for the soul! I am now going to give your guideline to purchasing your new camera equipment!

(Disclosure: There are affiliate links through out this post. At no cost to you, if clicked upon it is possible I may make a small compensation.)

What You Need in Your Camera Bag to Start Becoming a Photographer:

The Obvious: Camera
    • For someone having little to no experience with DSLR’s, I recommend starting out with the Nikon D3500.
    • This is the newest of Nikon’s D3000 series. I started with one of the first of the series and it taught me a lot.
    • It is smaller and more compact with the Nikon D3400, which mainly has great reviews excluding the uncomfortable size.
    • There is a built in Wifi adapter so you can transfer pictures from your camera to your phone almost instantly.
    • The camera comes with a guide setting. Do not sleep on the guide setting if you are just starting out. Go through the different settings the guide provides. Seriously.
    • This specific link is for the D3500 camera body itself and 2 lenses. The 18mm-55mm is a great lens to start out on. 
    • Best of all this camera goes for about $500 (including the lens).
    • I want to go ahead and say it, you don’t need the “bundle” package you see everywhere. Most of the equipment in the bundle is poorly made and won’t be of much use.
  • For those who already have the basic understanding of shooting with a DSLR and are ready to invest into the next level of cameras I highly recommend the Nikon D750. This is a full frame that has been around for some time now and still produces incredible images.
    • You can wait to purchase a separate lens. You will (typically) get a lens with the camera body when you buy it. The camera body normally comes with a 18mm-55mm. A great lens to start out on but it is also nice to have a prime lens on hand.
    • There are two prime lenses I highly recommend.
      • The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Lens 
        • My personal favorite for portraits. It is fast and creates sharp images.
      • The Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 Lens
        • A close second. This lens is an amazing wide lens for the price. It steps up your portrait and landscape photography in all the ways you are hoping it t
SD Cards
    • Buy more than one SD card. It is not unheard of for an SD card to get lost or break. It actually happens fairly often. Invest in a high GB SD card this will allow you to shoot more pictures  (in RAW).
    • You are also going to need a way to transfer your images from an SD card to your computer. Some computers come with an SD slot if yours does not just get this adapter.
 Spare Battery
    • It is always good to have a back up. I REPEAT IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE A BACK UP. Battery life on the Nikon D3500 is good for almost 1600 shots! Amazing. But still having a back up battery is important. You never know where you will go and what you will see.
    • AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod
    • Tripods are a good tool to have on hand for any shooting occasion. They provide stability which is key for low lighting and long exposure situations.
    • If you are hoping to get pictures of yourself, the tripod will come in handy. You can download the Nikon WMU app which connects your phone to the camera or just use the self timer! To make taking self portraits so much easier!
    • Start with the Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash. It is at a low price point.
    • Speedlight Flashes are used for shooting in low lighting, It is pretty much a flash that attaches to your lens.  Yes, there is a flash attached to your camera body. That flash often leaves images washed out or over exposed, A speed light flash will balance the image and hold on to all the details. If you are shooting indoors or in the evening you will want to have a speed light, especially when photographing people.
Camera Bag

    • If you are wanting to be serious about photography, it is an investment. The equipment is not cheap, as you may have noticed. It is IMPORTANT to keep all your gear together in a safe place. This camera bag comes with all the right nooks for your gear. There is a secure place for the camera body and accessories, a spot for your tripod, and room for personal items and a laptop.
    • You want something you can easily travel with. This is why I recommend a backpack rather than over-the-shoulder messenger styled bag.
An Editing Program
    • Last but definitely not least you need a place to edit your photos! We will be going more in depth with editing later on in the series. For now I suggest purchasing Adobe Lightroom
    • Adobe Lightroom can be purchased for $10 a month and is bundled with Adobe Photoshop. 
    • Lightroom is an easy to use program to edit your images. It has the capability to create and download presets to use. A preset is saved editing settings. For similarly lit images you can edit all with the click of a button!

A good place to start

Photography is not a “cheap” hobby or profession what so ever. Once you have the necessary gear it can be very rewarding. Especially if you are looking to become a professional. Once you have all of the equipment it will take some time and practice to know how to use it. Stay tuned for a step by step guide on how to shoot manually! This will open the door for you to understand the technique and machinery of what you are holding in your hands!

Thanks for the read, and I hope this post is resourceful for you!


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